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Essentials of Economics 3rd Edition


Author: Paul Krugman and Robin Wells

Publisher: Worth Publishers


Publish Date: July 15, 2013

ISBN-10: 1429278501

Pages: 613

File Type: PDF

Language: English

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Book Preface


More than a decade ago, when we began writing the first edition of this textbook, we had many small ideas: particular aspects of economics that we believed weren’t covered the right way in existing textbooks. But we also had one big idea: the belief that an economics textbook could and should be built around narratives, that it should never lose sight of the fact that economics is, in the end, a set of stories about what people do.

Many of the stories economists tell take the form of models—for whatever else they are, economic models are stories about how the world works. But we believed that students’ understanding of and appreciation for models would be greatly enhanced if they were presented, as much as possible, in the context of stories about the real world, stories that both illustrate economic concepts and touch on the concerns we all face as individuals living in a world shaped by economic forces. Those stories have been integrated into every edition, including this one, which contains more stories than ever before. Once again, you’ll find them in the openers, in boxed features like Economics in Action, For Inquiring Minds, and Global Comparisons, but now in our new Business Cases as well.

We have been gratified by the reception this storytelling approach has received, but we have also heard from users who urged us to expand the range of our stories to reach an even broader audience. In this edition of Essentials of Economics we have tried to expand the book’s appeal with some carefully selected changes. As in the previous edition, we’ve made extensive changes and updates in coverage to reflect current events—events that have come thick and fast in a turbulent, troubled world economy, which is affecting the lives and prospects of students everywhere. Currency is very important to us. We have also expanded our coverage of business issues, both because business experience is a key source of economic lessons and because most students will eventually find themselves working in the business world. We are especially pleased with how the new Business Cases have turned out and how they augment the overall number and richness of our stories.

We remain extremely fortunate in our reviewers, who have put in an immense amount of work helping us to make this book even better. And we are also deeply thankful to all the users who have given us feedback, telling us what works and, even more important, what doesn’t.

Many things have changed since the second edition of this book. As you’ll see, there’s a great deal of new material, and there are some significant changes (and, we hope, improvements) in pedagogy. But we’ve tried to keep the spirit the same. This is a book about economics as the study of what people do and how they interact, a study very much informed by real-world experience.


I enjoyed working on this third edition of Essentials of Economics. Much of the book is based on the third edition of Paul and Robin’s Economics, which is their excellent, entertaining, and up-to-date principles text for the two-semester course. Feedback from reviewers on the second edition of Essentials, along with my own experience teaching a one-semester survey course, has guided the revision of this third edition.

In a one-semester course it is always a challenge to balance the depth of coverage of specific topics with breadth of coverage of essential topics on economics. My hope is that this third edition achieves this balance and at the end of the course leaves the students interested in economics and eager to learn more. A focus on global examples is once again an important feature of the book, reflecting both Paul and Robin’s international experiences and my twelve years of living and working in the United Kingdom.

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